I get so excited when readers send me their DIY and craft projects and today’s tutorial from local Creative Aja Scarborough is absolutely breathtaking. As you may well know, concrete and cement homewares are my latest obsession, so to discover that I can make my own without too much difficulty has made my week.
In today’s post, Aja is sharing her DIY cement pot tutorial, which I love because you can personalise the look and feel of these pots to suit your home’s individual aesthetic.
>> Word of warning: I’ve had a few readers come to me with concerns, letting me know that their pots have cracked once dry. I thought it best I let you know this. I’ve done some research on the net and other people who’ve had this issue have found they’d been putting too much water in the mix. I’d recommend reducing the water you put in, and go for less than more if you’re concerned.
To start with you need:
- Bag of cement
- Bag of sand
- Large bucket
- Dishwashing gloves to protect your hands
- Inner and outer moulds (I used round tupperware containers and yogurt containers in the middle, but you can use almost anything. Just make sure you leave a few inches of rim so that the cement doesn’t crack).
- Canola spray
- Acrylic craft paints in colours you love
- Varnish spray
- Brushable waterproofer
- Power drill
- Painters tape
1. Wash and dry your moulds then spray the inside of the outer mould and the outside of the inner mould with canola oil spray
2. In the bucket, mix 4 parts of cement to 1 part sand (trust me – I had to try a LOT of variations before I landed on this one. I use 8 cups of cement to 2 cups sand and it makes about 4 pots, but it will depend on your mould size). Mix the two dry ingredients together well with your hands (and gloves!) and make sure you avoid breathing in any of that cement dust – it’s not good for your lungs!
3. When the dry ingredients are mixed, add some water. You want the consistency to be like a paste. Too watery and it takes forever to set and is a weaker product. [err on the side of less water here!]
4. Add the cement/sand paste into the main mould. Press the middle mould in leaving approximately a few inches from the bottom (you kinda have to guess this part) Then holding both, tap the bottom against the surface you are working on to get rid of large air bubbles. I have found that I have needed to weigh the middle mould down to keep it in place. You can do this with rocks, paper weights etc.
5. Leave the cement mix to set over 48 hours
6. Once set, the cement pot should be easily extracted from the outer mould just by turning it out onto a soft surface e.g: grass and pushing on the bottom of the mould. It can take some wrangling but it eventually pops out. The middle mould can be a bit trickier. Often pliers are required.
7. I sand the rim a bit as it’s inevitably too rough, but as I’m happy with a rustic shape for now I don’t worry too much about evening up the sides.
8. Drill a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. You start with a smaller drill bit and work up to the bigger one to ensure that it doesn’t put too much stress on the cement and crack. The longer you can leave the pot to set before doing this, the better. It only gets stronger as it cures.
9. Once you are happy with the shape/drainage hole you wipe down to remove excess dust and then you are ready for painting!
10. The world is your oyster in regards to shapes/designs. Use the painters tape for a defined line. A few coats of the paint gives the best result. Pinterest, of course, is great for inspiration!
11. Once you are happy with your design, paint the inside with the waterproofer to prevent the water from leaching out and ruining the paint. The spray varnish protects it from the outside. Follow the instructions in regards to drying time for both these products. Honestly, I’m not sure how well these pots would fare outside. I have made all of mine for indoor spaces so would be interesting to see how they hold up against the elements over time!
12. Add your potting mix and plant of choice. The drainage hole means you are not limited to succulents but they are still my favourite to use as they are so hardy and look so great. I love the hanging/draping succulent varieties as they help disguise an uneven edge! 😉
“My talented cousin Haley started making mini cement succulent pots before I did and was very helpful in getting me started,” Aja says. “She follows basically the same process but uses half a coke can for the outer mould (clever!) and then a shot glass for the inner mould. They are really sweet”.
What do you think of this DIY cement pot tutorial? Do you think you’ll give it a go? Share the love in the comments below 🙂